Main Engine Cut Off

First SpaceX Launch from 39A Now CRS-10, with New T/E Procedure

Renovation and conversion work on Pad 39A is taking longer than anticipated, and EchoStar 23 has been bumped until after the time-critical CRS-10. This isn’t much of a surprise, since converting 39A has been akin to building out a brand new pad for SpaceX.

Chris Bergin, of NASASpaceFlight:

EchoStar 23, a telecommunications satellite, does not have the same pressure of launch date availability, resulting in the decision to swap the running order.

Ironically, even if 39A is classed as ready to conduct launches, there won’t be an advance on the February 14/15 launch date target, given the Dragon payload is run on its own schedule per the experiments she carries to the orbital outpost.

Some interesting changes to the Transporter/Erector/Launcher:

Nonetheless, TEL testing has been proceeding to plan, with the first “Throwback” test completed, which will be a change to how the Transporter Erector performs during a launch.

Normally the TE retracts away from the rocket with just over three minutes to launch. However, the “Throwback” method will see the TEL remain in place, before retracting, rapidly, at T-0.